Working as a teacher can be very busy most of the time. It can be difficult to find a way to keep track of tasks in our work and personal lives. I know I personally needed to find a way to stay on top of things so I wouldn’t forget appointments, meetings, errands, etc. For a long time, I used yellow Post-it® notes. I even expanded my system by including different color Post-it® notes. Then I switched to Google Keep and haven’t looked back.
Post-it® Notes and The Disappearing Screen
Being a teacher means I am always looking for a better way to teach. I am obsessed with finding a way to improve the craftsmanship of my courses and lessons. That means I am always getting great ideas at the oddest times. For a long time when I first started teaching, I would rely on Post It notes to jot down or sketch out the day’s lesson plan. Sometimes, I would sketch the lesson plan on a Post It as a kind of reminder of the day’s activities, even though I had a full lesson plan already written out. Kind of like a cue card.
All of my little lesson outlines were mixed in with various other Post It notes that contained various reminders of emails I needed to write, assignments that needed feedback, and paperwork that needed to be completed.
Needless to say, that resulted in a lot of Post It notes hanging around. Like a freezer badly needing to be thawed, my computer screen kept on getting smaller and smaller. I know there are many of you who experience this as well.
To start to digitize my Post It workflow, I turned to Evernote which was a great tool for years. You can read more about that adventure in my previous post here. But using Google Drive and Docs along with Evernote seemed like one solution too many. I think teachers should use as many tools as they need but as few as they can get away with.
Google Keep Can Be Your Digital Post-its®
Google Keep is one of the core Google products available to all GSuite users. If your school uses Google, you have Google Keep. It is a great little productivity tool that feels familiar and easy to use. Google productivity tool that allows you to add notes, a checklist or to-do lists, reminders, photos, and audios all in one space.
This means that you have a centralized space to store everything that comes to your mind and to manage your tasks, lessons, and projects. Think of Google Keep as a collection of digital Post-it® notes, but even better. The best part about Keep is that it’s automatically synced across all your devices making it each to access wherever you are. It works on computers, phones, and tablets.
Things You Can Do With Google Keep:
- Add notes and lists
- Set date & time, and place reminders
- Invite others to collaborate in real-time
- Customize note’s colors
- Apply labels
- Add photos and drawings
- Use voice commands to create notes or lists
- Automatically synced on all your devices
Using Keep Notes and Lists for Teacher-Life
Organize everything you want to remember by creating a new note or a to-do list. For teachers, it’s a great way to keep track of lists such as future planning ideas and daily to-do lists. Outside of school, this tool can be used for many errands and tasks. My wife actually uses Keep to create our weekly grocery list.
To create a new note, just simply click on “Take a note”. Below it is where you can see all your notes.
To create a new list, just simply click on the first icon beside the “Take a note” which is the list icon. Write your title i.e. Grocery Shopping List. Type all the necessary items by clicking on “List Item”. You can add as many items as you want. Once you have completed the items in your checklist, you can tick each of them.
You can set a reminder so you can remind yourself of specific tasks at a certain time or place. You may click on the “Remind me” icon to set the time, date, and place.
Inviting People To Collaborate On A Google Keep Note
You can invite people to share your notes and collaborate with them in real-time. It can be about planning a school activity with your colleagues or planning a birthday celebration with your friends. Just click on the “Collaborator” icon and start adding people by typing their email addresses.
Customizing Your Google Keep Notes’ Colors
After typing your note, you can also change its color. Just click on “Change color” and it will open the color palette.
Applying Labels To Your Google Keep Notes
You may add labels to categorize your notes to make it even more organized. You may create a new label located on the left side menu.
To add a note to a specific label, just click on the “More” icon with the three dots, and click on “Add Label”. You can choose the existing labels or create a new one from there.
Adding Images and/or Drawings To Google Keep Notes
One special feature of Google Keep is that it allows you to add photos either by taking a new one or choosing from your existing photos. To do so, click on the “Add image” icon.
Aside from adding images, you also have the option to add drawings. You can find the option on the “More” icon. You can add a new drawing or draw on your existing photos.
Using Voice Commands to Create Google Keep Notes or Lists
In addition to text notes, Keep also allows dictation for your notes. This comes in handy when you are in a hurry, driving, or taking notes during a class. It is an awesome feature that will even transcribe whatever it is you say into text so it can be searched later.
It is important to note, however; the voice command feature only works on phones and tablets. It is currently not yet available on the Web version. Even then, I found that it only is really capable of recording and transcribing a couple of seconds. So if you are going to give a monologue, I might suggest just typing it out.
Questions: Are you using Google Keep? How does it help you? Are there other features that you want to share? Let us know in the comment section below!